Swans coaches inspire young South African footballers
Swansea City Academy coaches have been labelled an inspiration to young footballers in South Africa after holding three days of community coaching with clubs in Cape Town.
Ahead of Barclays Premier League Live – which starts Saturday – four academy coaches have this week been working with young football teams and their staff at Edgemead FC and Stellenbosch Academy of Sport.
The Swans coaching team also worked with around 200 children from one of Cape Town’s most deprived areas at Dunoon Township.
Michelle Korevaar, who co-owns Spice4Life and works with the Youth Academy within the township, labelled the club's visit a life-changing experience.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that the children in Dunoon will never forget,” she said. “Dunoon is a place most people do not come to. It is a dangerous area where all the kids here face serious challenges on a day-to-day basis.
“For Swansea City to be role models and to come in to the area and spend time with them is inspirational. It gives them hope that they can achieve in life and that someone cares about them.”
Academy coaches held basic football drills and skills sessions with boys and girls from as young as three up to age 18 during the three days.
The team also presented kit which had been donated by the club and players at the academy.
“A lot of these children could never afford a football shirt,” Korevaar added. “So to be given a new one from the club is like treasure - it brings dignity and hope to these youngsters.
“Sport is so important to these kids. It keeps people going. You can see they have thrived off the information Swansea have given them on the pitch.
“It has been a once in a lifetime opportunity the children in Dunoon will never forget."
Andrew Sparkes, the head of academy goalkeeping, was part of the Swans coaching team in Cape Town.
He believes the visit has the potential to build a legacy.
“It has been great to work with young children across Cape Town,” he said. "To give them an introduction to football and show them some of the ways we train at Swansea City has been an amazing experience.
“For many it is the first time they have been in a structured coaching environment but we have also had lots of fun teaching them basic skills and passing on our knowledge of the game.
“We have managed to put a lot of smiles on people’s faces.
“The children here do not have a lot but what they do have is lots of enthusiasm and respect for what we are doing.
"We hope we are leaving a great legacy here."